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Mayor apologizes for bill-paying faux pas; implores travellers to stay home

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Earlier this morning I wrote a piece that criticized the City of Kawartha Lakes for their tone deaf messaging yesterday regarding the payment of municipal taxes and utilities.

In an announcement released today at 1:30 pm — accompanied by a video of Mayor Andy Letham reading the statement at 11:30 am — the Mayor apologized for that message claiming that the intent of the message was to instruct residents how to pay their bill with city offices closed to the public. (See the mayor’s video on our Facebook page.)

The mayor also announced that, “no essential services will be disconnected. There will be no penalty or interest applied to any account until further notice.” That is, thankfully, the opposite of what the original message said.

“Relief and flexibility are on the way,” he added.

This is good news and we should welcome it. Hopefully none of us will have to take advantage of this relief, but many of us probably will.

And I for one think we should all take Letham’s apology at face value. As I mentioned in the piece, now is not the time for fighting, partisan or otherwise. Everyone knows that the Mayor didn’t pen that message himself, but he took responsibility, apologized and more importantly announced a much welcomed relief package.

It was a misstep — one that angered a lot of us — but I think we should all consider that matter closed. It can, in fact,  serve as a learning opportunity for the city and all of us: These are very tense times that are just beginning, so our words, tone and meaning are more important than ever.

Letham went on to discuss other crucial matters and he sternly advised returning residents to follow protocol.

“We’re very glad that you’re home safely, we hoped you had a good holiday. Now, you need to self-quarantine for two weeks. This is crucial, this is very important, this is not optional, you need to do that now as soon as you return, no exception, he said.

He also chastised those residents who are not taking this crisis seriously, reminding us all of the high number of vulnerable citizens we have in our City.

On this the mayor is 100 per cent right and that is exactly what good leaders should be saying, as often and loudly as possible.

A graduate of the University of Toronto, Trevor Hutchinson is a songwriter, writer and bookkeeper. He serves as Contributing Editor at The Lindsay Advocate. He lives with his fiancee and their five kids in Lindsay.

4 Comments

  1. I have always found our tax office to be cold and rude. Diane Niles acts like she is god when dealing with her. Few years back with our businesss, her answer when trying to deal with the 3x increase on our tax bill in one year when mpac changed the measurements was , “well if you dont pay it, someone will”. Her heartless tone was in a way that she didnt care if we went bankrupt over the 3x increase in one year. I thought the tax payers in the community where. the ones that pay her salary. Meanwhile other parts of Canada have different rates and different processes for the same situation. Maybe its time we overall our tax system to what actually works. We are missing something when As soon as we cross the border the rates are 80% less for the same service and even alberta compared to ontario the rate are 50% less in alberta. Hmmm. something is wrong with our current system. As far as Diane Niles or anyone exercising their imaginary power trip, they should be removed from their position.

  2. I think the public understands all too clearly that the office at Kawartha Lakes is being manipulated and used for their own benefit by the fat cats

  3. As a widowed single mom, I recently fell behind on my taxes and upon making arrangements to pay them out and requesting a tax certificate….

    These crooks sent the bailiff quickly to make sure they could collect extra feed and taxes out of me and rushed to put it through before my scheduled mortgage closing date. This was last week when our world was already in shambles..

    I hopefully hope one day that Andy Latham gets to see what being hit hard looks like so he can be treated in the manner I have by city staff over the last few years who have offered no accommodation or heart at all when dealing with my situation.

    I hope the city lays them all off since taxes are obviously not going to be a priority for a while.

    Let them go home and figure out how to find another job locally that would allow them to also afford their property taxes on time since they seem to think it’s easy enough to do… I’d want to make sure all of them are being charged interest on their back taxes in the next few months…

  4. I read the article how Andy was apologizing but was totally SHOCKED!!! when I read ” He(Andy Letham) also chastised those residents who are not taking this crisis seriously”
    What a Poor Leader. He just deflected the blame of his Poor Judgement onto the People of the City of Kawartha Lakes saying they arent taking things seriously. How are they supposed to take it serious when he didnt take it serious.

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